CAPETONIAN Grant van Niekerk, who turns 28 next Sunday, hopes his victory aboard Flying Thunder in the Gr3 Premier Cup over 1400m at Sha-Tin in Hong Kong will pave the way for even greater success next season.
This was Van Niekerk’s first win at Group level in Hong Kong and he also saluted on the Caspar Fownes-trained Nice Fandango and John Moore’s Earth Trilogy to secure his first treble, giving him a confidence boost he intends to put to good use.
“It’s very nice to get a Group winner. I have some nice horses to look forward to next season, when you get these chances you have to make the most of them,” he said. “Hopefully I can get more chances from here on in and come back next season with some confidence.
“The first season was always going to be a learning curve and as long as I just keep proving myself things will be OK.”
Van Niekerk, who has now ridden 29 winners in his debut season, was on the board in the very first race with Nice Fandango but that win came at a cost, as he was slapped with a two-meeting suspension and a HK$35,000 fine for careless riding.
“It was a great day, it’s just the suspension that ruined it. I thought I had some nice rides today so I’m glad I got the results,” said Van Niekerk, who has struck up a strong association with the Frankie Lor Fu-chuen-trained Flying Thunder.
“He gave me a very nice feel, he’s a horse that is going places. When I won on him the first time he gave me a really nice feel and he’s followed up on that today.”
-Extracts from SCMP.